Before I start, it’s unfair for me to assume that none of you are already human robots. You might sit at a desk all day, with your hands tied to your keyboard, your eyes super-glued to the computer, and your feet nailed to the ground. You might finally get the chance to unchain yourself from this statue-esque position only to find yourself stuck in this position, unable to mold yourself back to standing. Sort of like that weird green guy from that kids’ show we all loved – Gumby – that poor guy would stay bent in whatever position you molded him into. I don’t even want to imagine… If you often feel this stiffness already, you might already be a human robot, and if you live this kind of life, you might be shortly headed this way. Fortunately, personal trainers understand functional anatomy in a way can help restore you to normal human function, so you don’t have to live stuck in two-dimension.
So what can you add to your fitness routine to avoid becoming a robot, or even worse, a little moldable green guy named Gumby (I hope you know who I am referring to because otherwise you might just be extremely confused)? First, lets discuss why you are so robotically stiff. Sitting in a chair all day forces our hip flexors to remain in a flexed position, while our hamstrings are in a lengthened (and thus, weakened) position. Combined with the uni-lateral forward movements of most traditional exercises (running, biking, walking, squats, lunges, etc.), we are essentially over-using our hip flexors to death, and our hamstrings are being utterly and completely neglected. This is not an ideal situation, yet sadly, it has almost become the norm in this day and age with sedentary jobs taking over. Putting this strain on your muscles can weaken the core and tighten the back as well.
Lets fix this! Lets bring ourselves back to life. This requires a strengthening of the glute muscles, abductor muscles and hamstrings (to start!), yet really, this simply requires restoring muscular balance across your body. Adding lateral, or side-to-side, movements to your fitness routine, preferably with rotational components, will help achieve this, and help you shed your Frankenstein identity. Here are some great exercises to restore muscular balance to your outer glutes, abductors, hamstrings, and core:
Side Lunge ::
Side Squat ::
[Assume a squat position, and stay in this position while traveling sideways, planting your feet firmly, feeling your outer glute muscles working.]
In and Outs ::
[If you have a resistance band, wrap it around your ankles. The goal is to keep your feet wider than your hips at all times. First plant your feet wider than your hips, and then step, one foot at a time, even wider, then step in with each foot, one at a time, at a quick pace. ]
Doggie Fire Hydrants::
Single Leg Deadlift ::
Hip Circles ::
[Except I like to bend my knee, rather than have it straight as shown.]
Wood Chops ::
[you can use a cable machine, resistance bands, or a medicine ball/weight/anything.]
Exercise and enjoy!